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Arts Education Project (AEP) grants due next week!

Educators: are you finalizing your AEP (Arts Education Project) Grant applications? The deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 16. UPDATE: The deadline is extended to Monday, Jan. 22. AEP Grants support well-developed arts education programs and projects in both traditional arts education settings (schools, arts organizations) and other organizations that use the arts to advance learning (social service, health, community, education or other organizations). Funded projects and programs can take place in school, after school or over the summer. Grants of up to $15,000 are available (grantees must match their grant 1:1). An AEP Grant would support such programs as:

  • After-school classes
  • Workshops
  • Camps
  • Artist residencies
  • Public art projects
  • Performances
  • Exhibitions
  • Acquisition of critical equipment or supplies
  • Program planning
  • Professional development for instructors, artists and/or administrators
And others, as the list is not exhaustive. Most S.C. schools, nonprofit organizations (arts and non-arts), colleges and universities, and units of government are eligible to apply. Go here to learn more and apply.  

Applications open for 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, invites applications for the 2016 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards. The 12 award-winning programs will receive $10,000 and an invitation to accept their award from the President’s Committee’s Honorary Chairman, First Lady Michelle Obama, at a White House ceremony. In addition, winners will receive an award plaque, the opportunity to attend the Annual Awardee Conference in Washington, DC in the summer of 2016, and will be featured on the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award website. After-school and out-of-school time arts and humanities programs sponsored by museums, libraries, performing arts organizations; educational institutions (e.g., preschools; elementary, middle, and high schools; universities; and colleges), arts centers, community service organizations, businesses, and eligible government entities are encouraged to submit applications. Programs applying for the award must meet all of the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award’s eligibility criteria. The deadline for application submissions is Tuesday, February 2, 2016, 5:00 p.m. PST. More information is available online, including the list of 2015 awardees and application guidelines.    

Myrtle Beach’s “kindergarten cop” uses art to connect with city’s children

From The Sun News Article by Maya T. Prabhu; photo by Janet Blackmon Morgan

Mike DamesMike Dame said he’s always had an interest in art. He said he had a teacher when he was in grade school suggest that he pursue art and writing, but Dame decided against it. Now, after serving in the U.S. Navy and being on the Myrtle Beach police force for 18 years, Dame said he’s getting the best of both worlds by volunteering with the Historic Myrtle Beach Colored School and Museum’s after-school art program. “I get to be a police officer and a teacher at the same time,” he said. Dame, who is originally from Massachusetts and served as a police officer in North Carolina before joining Myrtle Beach’s police force, said he wasn’t familiar with the school – established as a way to memorialize the city’s first school for black children – before he started volunteering. After getting injured and being assigned to light duty, Dame said City Manager John Pedersen suggested he spend some of his time each week with local children instead of sitting behind a desk. “I designed a sign for the city and John Pedersen suggested I do something with the summer art program,” he said. Fannie Brown, director of the colored school, said she always welcomes volunteers – including more parental involvement – at the school. “And he’s great with kids,” she said. “He’s interested and so helpful. The kids just love him.” Brown said she hopes to get more volunteers at the school, especially parents of the city’s children that are in the programs. “Someone who’s good with kids, has a lot of patience – like Officer Dame,” she said. Dame meets with the children for two hours a week, working on the session’s art project and introducing them to his fellow officers. “I want to get more officers involved and build that bridge that needs to be there,” he said. “I bring in officers that do different stuff to show them all these different things officers do – not just pulling people over who are speeding.” After a successful summer program, Dame decided to stay on for a fall session working with a handful of children on a comic book about the city. “The project is always something to do with the city,” he said. “Like, what do they love about the city? And help them understand they’re the future of the city.”
Brother and sister Jamil Sumpter, 5, and Everette Sumpter, 8, met with Dame last week sketching out traits and costumes for the four characters in the Myrtle Beach super hero and super villain comic book, with villains that throw trash around the city and steal training wheels from the other children learning to ride their bikes. Everette, a third-grader at Myrtle Beach Elementary School, said his favorite part of working with Dame is drawing – something he doesn’t typically spend a lot of time doing when he’s not at the after-school program. “I like drawing the bad guys and good guys,” he said, adding that at school and at home he’s usually more focused on playing sports. Everette said working with Dame is helping him understand what police officers do. “I learned that police is good,” he said, adding that he used to be afraid of them when he saw them sometimes, but now he’s not. “He’s helping me not to be afraid.” Dame, who recently transferred from the gang unit to the juvenile unit, said that’s why it’s so important for him to continue working with Myrtle Beach’s children for as long as the department will allow. “We can all connect with these kids now, be part of their lives,” he said. “Then they know you, they’re comfortable with you, they trust you. And know that we’re one more resource for them.” Image: Dame helps brother and sister Jamil (left) and Everette Sumpter make a comic book with characters based in Myrtle Beach and pulled from their imagination.

Out-of-school arts, humanities programs may be eligible for national $10,000 award

Application deadline is Feb. 10, 2014. The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, invites applications for the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards (formerly the Coming Up Taller Awards). The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award is the nation's highest honor for out-of-school arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America's young people, particularly those from underserved communities. Programs that receive the award exemplify how arts and humanities programs outside of the regular school day enrich the lives of young people by teaching new skills, nurturing creativity and building self-confidence. These programs offer high-quality and intensive instruction on weekends, afternoons and summer vacations, providing a safe and productive space for young people in the hours when they are often the most vulnerable. Each year, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards recognize 12 outstanding programs in the United States, from a wide range of urban and rural settings. The award-winning programs will receive $10,000 and an invitation to accept their award from the President’s Committee’s Honorary Chairman, First Lady Michelle Obama, at a ceremony at the White House. In addition, winners will receive an award plaque, the opportunity to attend the Annual Awardee Conference in Washington, DC in the summer of 2014, and will be featured on the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award website. After-school and out-of-school time arts and humanities programs sponsored by museums, libraries, performing arts organizations, educational institutions (e.g., preschools; elementary, middle, and high schools; universities; and colleges), arts centers, community service organizations, businesses, and eligible government entities are encouraged to consider applying. Programs applying for the award must meet all eligibility criteria. Find out more and apply here. Applications will only be accepted via the online process. The application deadline is Feb. 10, 2014, 5 p.m. PST. Via: National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award

Steve Wong

Celebrating 20 COLORful years

COLORS—an outreach program by Spartanburg Art Museum (SAM)—might be 20 years old, but it is still a kid at heart. To recognize and celebrate this coming of age for a program that provides free art instruction to at-risk children, an art exhibit of their creative efforts will be at SAM June 11 through July 27. At no cost, the public is invited to view what kids can do when given a little instruction, encouragement, and supplies. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. at Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg. (Poster image, right by Maddie Davis, 8th grade, Cowpens Middle School.) Since 1993, COLORS has reached thousands of children (ages 6 to 18) from low-to-moderate income families. It has provided a safe place where kids can go after school and have the creative freedom to paint, draw, make ceramics, work with the digital arts and do countless other forms of visual art. They are provided with a studio, professional supplies and professional instruction. The main studio is at Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg and is open year-round, Monday through Thursday, 3-6 p.m. However, the need and interest have both grown during this time, and now there are 10 other COLORS satellite studios throughout the county in churches, schools and other community gathering places. One of the biggest challenges has always been transportation: getting the kids to the downtown studio. The solution: create more studios in their micro-communities. The program’s mission and purpose were obvious: provide the ways and means for kids to be creative. The end result has been art that has stunned the world and children who grew up to be better citizens. “Every child is a success story at COLORS,” Laura Pinkley, the program’s founder said. “Each participant who comes to COLORS, rather than going home after school to watch television or play in an unsupervised environment, is safer in our studios. But we also have more long-term success stories: Former students who are now in their 20s and 30s have become professionals in our community, some even in the field of art.” [caption id="attachment_6509" align="alignnone" width="600"]Michael Smith, Skeet Michael Smith, "Skeet"[/caption] The program was modeled after a similar one in Harlem in New York City. It was a success there, and when it came south, the success followed. In the early years, the program was cited in Time magazine, it was plugged twice on national television, and the kids’ artwork made its way into showplaces around the country. One piece even hung in the White House for a year after winning the national Congressional Art Competition. It was produced by Michael Smith when he was a high school student. He was later hired as an instructor in the program. The image in this piece is of an older, African-American man standing on a street corner, holding a liquor bottle. “It was one of those pieces of art that was both technically amazing and conceptually mind blowing,” Pinkley said. “The impact of the artwork was tremendous. It was amazing to realize that this student had that much insight into his environment and that he could convey the emotion and sense of place.” After its year in the White House, the Museum purchased the art, entitled “Skeet,” to add to its permanent collection. Even though Pinkley has retired, she still supports the program financially and with time and effort. She works on a regular basis with Angie Shuman, the current director of COLORS, who is responsible for its continued success. Together, with a committee, they are now heading up the 20th anniversary celebration activities. Saturday, June 15, the Museum will host a fundraising cocktail party in its gallery, where guests will be surrounded by children’s art. All proceeds from this event will go to the COLORS program. The cost is $25 per person. Thursday, June 20, during Artwalk, there will be a free public reception 5-9 p.m. Both events will be in SAM and will include the exhibit. To make reservations for the fundraiser or for more information, please call Shuman at (864) 278-9673.